There’s a restaurant in Madrid that’s flipping the business on its side. Known as the Robin Hood restaurant, they charge the rich to feed the poor. It’s become Spain’s most sought-after lunch reservation.
The Robin Hood restaurant has managed to poach staff from luxury hotels and celebrity chefs, and for paying customers, lunch is fully booked through the end of March. The restaurant only opened in early December of 2016 and is run by an 80-year-old Catholic priest named Angel Garcia Rodriguez, but everyone simply calls him Padre Angel. He wants to give a space for the local homeless and needy to eat like everyone else. “I want them to eat with the same dignity as any other customer,” Father Angel says (1).
The restaurant has to feed more than a hundred needy people each night in two shifts. As unemployment remains high in Spain, there are many who depend on people like Padre Angel for the work they do. Including one homeless man named Luis Gallardo who lost his job in the recession and had to sell his home to pay debts (1).
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There’s a sign outside outlining the house rules, which includes allowing patrons to sing as they please as long as it doesn’t disturb other customers. They can use free wifi or borrow a cell phone if they need to make a call. They’re free to bring their own food and only order drinks if they choose. Or they can take over the kitchen for a birthday party or other special celebration. As you can see, the rules are very relaxed and aim to give people a place to call their own (1).
What’s on the Menu
On one particular night, the Robin Hood waiters served mushroom consommé, followed by roast turkey and potatoes. And for dessert, there was a choice of vanilla pudding or yogurt. So this is by no means a lackluster affair. Padre Angel works hard to make the meals as nice as possible, giving patrons a little slice of luxury they deserve (1).
Messengers of Peace
But it doesn’t stop there for Padre Angel. He’s the founder of a local charity called Messengers of Peace and has converted an abandoned church nearby into a sort of community center. It’s open twenty-four hours a day and offers free coffee, television, and places for patrons to sleep. He or a college celebrate Mass there daily (2).
541 Eatery and Exchange
But Spain isn’t the only place where interesting restaurants with a community goal are springing up. In Hamilton, Ontario, there’s a restaurant called 541 Eatery and Exchange that celebrates sharing and giving as much as eating and drinking. Their food is very moderately priced, but for a dollar, you can also give to what they call the button bank.
Here’s how the button bank works: you can buy a button at a dollar apiece and place it in the button bank. Someone who comes along and can’t afford their meal or coffee can use a button or two to make their meal more affordable. The restaurant believes everyone deserves a nice spot to hang out at, and good food to eat (3).
We love to hear about corporations doing what they can to make their community a little better, one person at a time. If you know about a business in your area that stands out in this way, share their story with us!
(1) NPR. Spain’s ‘Robin Hood Restaurant’ charges the rich and feeds the poor http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/01/24/511267616/spains-robin-hood-restaurant-charges-the-rich-and-feeds-the-poor Published: January 24, 2017. Accessed: January 31, 2017.
(2) The New York Times. In Spain, New restaurants nourish the needy, and the soul https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/world/europe/in-spain-new-restaurants-nourish-the-needy-and-the-soul.html?_r=1 Published: December 19, 2016. Accessed: January 31, 2017.
(3) This must be the place. 541 eatery and exchange http://www.thismustbetheplace.ca/2014/07/541-eatery-exchange/ Published: July 9, 2014. Accessed: January 31, 2017.
(4) Youtube. ‘Robin Hood’ restaurant for homeless opens in Madrid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxGgkdFkILU Published: December 24, 2016. Accessed: January 31, 2017.